28 February 2012

beating the bullies 7: Pink Shirt Day in BC

(this banner, article and photo from PinkShirtDay.ca)

Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. Over the next few weeks on CKNW we will be helping raise awareness on these issues and the guests will hopefully give us all the tools needed to stand up against bullies and step in when we see it happening.

Then on February 29, 2012 we encourage all of you to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere. We wish we could take credit for this idea but it comes from two incredible Nova Scotia high school students. Here is a snippet of the Globe & Mail article which inspired us:
David Shepherd and Travis Price
“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.
‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’
So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.
As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.
The bullies were never heard from again.”
Will you join in by wearing pink on February 29th? Do you have a story about being bullied, how you stopped a bully or about how bullying has affected a loved one? Share your experiences here by leaving a comment or calling us direct at (604) 879-6554.
If you are a student, print off  this web page and give to your Principal / Headmaster / etc. so that your school can get involved. Also, drop us an email to let me know who you are and which school you attend.
More information and details about this project will be posted on this website soon.  Until then, be sure to click on the links / menu items at the top of the page to learn how you, your school, business or organization can get involved.
Also, join the Facebook Event by clicking HERE.  Last year over 160,000 people committed on Facebook to wear pink and help stop bullying.
Please join in!

(this article and photo from: Huffington Post, July 15, 2011 update)


LGBT Bullying In School Linked To Long-Term Health Effects In New Report

That’s so gay.”
Phrases such as this one, used dismissively by teenagers in what is often a casual, offhand way, can impair the health of LGBT youth long after classes end, a new study shows. The term is so pervasive, in fact, that an earlier survey found that 90% of American youth have heard “gay” used in a negative way.
A new report by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University traced the effects of LGBT-victimizing bullying in school -- including unintentional epithets like “that’s so gay,” more direct verbal harassment, and physical violence -- beyond their initial sting in school hallways. Using data from the project's survey of 245 LGBT young adults, the paper links such bullying to long-term health and developmental problems.
It found that LGBT-targeted bullying related to gender expression or sexual orientation during school years led to increased young adult depression, suicidal thoughts, social adjustment issues and risky sexual behavior. LGBT young adults that reported high levels of anti-LGBT victimization as teens were 5.6 times more likely to report suicide attempts than those victimized less frequently. They were more than twice as likely to report being clinically depressed, and they were more than twice as likely to report having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease by young adulthood.
The report also found that young adult GBT males are targeted more frequently than their female counterparts, and that the amount of bullying a boy receives in school can help predict the health issues he will face later in life.
The report, titled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescent School Victimization: Implications for Young Adult Health and Adjustment” and published in the Journal of School Health, comes as both popular culture and policy hone in on the topic. The plot of last week's episode of the ever-popular Fox hit show Glee, for example, revolved around quiet, biting homophobic bullying: an openly gay male was (spoiler alert!) crowned Prom Queen.
“I don’t know if these issues are getting easier to talk about, but a lot of people are willing to have the conversation,” said Jeff Krehely, director of the LGBT Research & Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. “That has to do with the fact that a lot more people are out as L, G, B, or T than they were 10 or 15 years ago.”
Meanwhile, several related bills are currently pending in Congress. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would prohibit LGBT discrimination in public schools and forbid schools themselves from discriminating against students based on gender identity. The Student Non-Discrimination Act would seek to end LGBT bullying with a focus on online behavior. And just last week, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation aimed at curbing LGBT homelessness.
“When those policies are on the books, they’ll be a deterrent for people who might want to bully LGBT kids,” Krehely said. “They also give kids who are bullied a way to fight back and stand up for themselves.”
Advocates hope that these concrete numbers that show that the pain of LGBT victimization extends beyond students’ school years will give policy initiatives more bite. “Being able to have data that does that is really powerful in the advocacy that I do,” Krehely said.
Prior research on LGBT youth has focused on the effects of bullying during adolescence, finding that it might compromise mental health while victims are still in school. This paper is the first to take a long-term approach.
"While the focus for so long has been on youth bullying, there’s a price to be paid in later life," said Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project and co-author of the report. "The negative or adverse effects that happen in earlier stages affect the later stages of their lives."
For Ryan, the report is the culmination of ten years of research. “It shows that there’s a whole social context to LGBT victimization,” she said. “Effects may be happening in the present, but it also affects LGBT young people in the future.”
The effects of LGBT-targeted bullying, she said, are more serious and lasting than people think. “It’s not about special rights,” she said. “It’s tied to the human right of having an education and going into an educational environment that supports them.”
In other words, evidence of the long-ranging effects of bullying makes policy initiatives more important. “This paper provides another important tool in our approach to help our communities and families understand that these are important issues that need to be addressed,” Ryan said. “Schools sometimes minimize victimization related to young people, saying boys will be boys. But it’s more than that.”
She added that her group is seeking funding to develop materials that would teach parents how to cope with and prevent school victimization.
I Want to Know  What It's Like:

It Gets Better: US President Obama:
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